Newsletter - September 2017 to December 2017


Newsletter August 2017

Message from our minister                                                                              Autumn 2017

In the next quarter there are two special services that connect the church with the seasons, in different ways.  Both signal the ending of summer and the approach of autumn, but while Harvest is a celebration and thanksgiving of all the riches that God has given us, Remembrance is a more reflective and sombre affair.

The hymns in Singing the Faith for each occasion mirror these contrasting moods.  Harvest hymns traditionally speak of praise, gratitude and thanksgiving, of ripe fruit and wholesome grain, ploughing and sowing, gathering in and harvesting.  This language belongs in some sense to older ways of farming practice, recalling times past when harvesting was a community effort, involving whole villages whose food and livelihoods depended on having a good and successful harvest.

The modern hymn STF 126 talks of harvest not only in connection with abundant food crops but also in respect of imported and packaged foods, of science and skills, of oil and coal, and of the harvest of love and mercy shown by people struggling to ensure everyone has enough to eat across the world.

These hymns are helpful in reminding us that God’s gifts are not limited to one particular sphere but encompass everything that we produce from our manual labour and the use of our intellects.  We have much to give God thanks for and to celebrate at Harvest.

Remembrance Sunday has its own traditions, equally as embedded in our culture as harvest.  The laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph, the silence at 11 o’clock, the poppies and the veterans’ marches.  All these to commemorate battles won and lost, lives laid down for our freedom, loved ones lost and families bereaved.  The hymns are consequently sober, wistful and regretful, and in the words of Marjorie Dobson’s hymn STF 131, strongly advocate peace and new solutions to achieve the final cessation of all war and violent conflict.  This reflects current social attitudes which are against the overt glorification of war and conflict.  Hymns with militaristic phrases have completely fallen out of fashion and are rarely sung now! (eg H&P 721 Stand up! Stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross, H&P 719 Soldiers of Christ arise).

These changes in style and language of our hymns serve to remind us that God is active and involved in his world and with his people. Creation is a work in progress; God is still moving us on, encouraging us to new ways of thinking and living that edge us closer to his kingdom.  God is still in the celebrations of harvest, he deserves all our praise and thanksgiving for everything he has made and enabled us to do and produce.  He is with us in the loss and pain of human conflict, comforting us in his infinite mercy and grace and lamenting with us the futility of war.

The autumn season is one of great beauty as the trees change colour from green to flame and red and then slowly drop their leaves, leaving bare branches stark against the sky.  From joy and thanksgiving to grateful remembrance – God is with you in every season.

Claire Hargreaves



Local News

Bible Study will be starting a new book for Advent, “Light of the World” by Beryl Adamsbaum, on Monday 25th September, do join us.

House Group meets at Ruth Isaac’s home at 7.00 on the fourth Tuesday of the month. 

Occasional lunches.  The next Occasional lunch will be on Thursday October 5th.  Meanwhile, the Thursday Coffee mornings continue weekly, so please come and join us for company and a natter.

Harvest Lunch-  We will be having a Lunch after the Harvest Festival service on 17th September.  Do invite your friends to join us.  We should be pleased to see them at the lunch even if they cannot get to the service.

MHA - We will be celebrating the work of MHA (Methodist Homes For the Aged) on Sunday 22nd October, when Jane O’Leary will be telling us more about their work.

Remembrance Sunday 12th November.  It is our turn to host members of the British Legion and the local Scouts troop this year, so come early to be sure of a seat.

Village Fete - West Horsley Village Fete will be held on Saturday 9th September in the grounds of West Horsley Place.  We will be having a table with information and Graham is organizing a children’s competition; he needs empty tin cans, standard size with labels removed, and small prizes suitable for children.  There will be a box in the vestry if you are able to help with any of these items.  He would also appreciate offers of help on the day.

Foodbank - There are foodbanks  in Cobham and Guildford to help those in need.  The Sainsbury’s and Waitrose supermarkets in Cobham have collection points with a list of requirements, if you feel able to add something while doing your shopping.  Posh Wash in Bishopmead Parade, East Horsley is also a collecting point.

Church Collections  Thank you to everyone for giving so generously to the church collections.  Some people have asked about making their contributions directly from their bank accounts.  Margaret has taken advice, and the best way to do this is by creating a Standing Order.  Please speak to her if you would like to have the details of our church bank account.


Our sincerest thanks to Ted and Liz for all they do in creating our beautiful chapel garden, not least the wonderful tubs which give delight all the year round; once again our garden was awarded Silver-Gilt in the non residential display category of the West Horsley in Bloom competition.


Claire Hargreaves’  Sabbatical

I will be on three months’ sabbatical from 1st September to 1st December during which time pastoral cover will be provided by Reverend Allan Taylor.  Reverend Asif Das will be chairing the Church Council on 20th October.

The purpose of a sabbatical is to release the minister from ordinary duties so that he/she can undertake new research, different work, attend courses and be refreshed. So I will be (attempting to) learn some Arabic, visit All We Can’s partners and their work with Syrian refugees in Jordan, research some of the lesser celebrated Christian festivals such as Ascension and Epiphany, and possibly take some holiday.

I look forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas with you and in the meantime pray God’s blessing on you all.

ClaireDuring this time we are urged not to make contact with Claire, by either email or phone as she doesn’t have separate lines for “work”.  Margaret is our church rep on Claire’s  sabbatical support group.  If in doubt about contacting Claire, please speak to Margaret in the first instance. 

Claire does not want to receive copies of the weekly notices, so please take her name off any contact groups until December.  Any documents – Church Council Minutes etc – will be saved up for her return.

We have invited Claire to the House Group meeting in January to tell us about her sabbatical.


A meeting was held in July and the following suggestions were made for the coming year:

An “Approaching Advent” event

St Mary’s are holding a Wreath making event in EH village Hall on  Dec 2nd.

Methodist Carol Praise will be on Sat Dec 9th at 7.00

The Anglicans are arranging another Alpha course, starting mid Jan

The Good Friday service will be organised by the Methodists

The Unity Service will be on Sunday May 13th at 6.00 at Ockham.

The Anglican “Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative will take place in the week leading up to Pentecost

An “Around the Churches Walk” will take place on Saturday May 19th.

Everyone is invited to join in these events; more details will be in the weekly notices.

Spiritual Cinema is held at St Martin’s, East Horsley.  A chance to watch and discuss a thought provoking film.  The next one, “Me Before You”, will be shown on Tuesday 12th September at 7.00.

News from around the Circuit

There will be a Circuit Service at 6.30 on Sunday 3rd September at Knaphill Methodist Church.  The theme will be “Releasing gifts for the growing of God’s Kingdom”.


Charity Coffee Mornings at Merrow Church from 10.30 – 12.30:

10th September – Methodist Homes

12th October – The Bible Society

9th November – The Encephalitis Society

Cream Tea at St Mary’s Guildford - Tuesday 29th August, 1.30-4.30

Merrow Quiz  will be held on Saturday 18th November at 7.00; please help us to form a team.


Conference                 Presidential addresses

The induction of the new President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference took place during the opening of the Representative Session.  In her Presidential address, the Revd Loraine Mellor (Chair of the Nottingham & Derby District) asked: “How are we disturbing the present in the Church today?” as she shared her concerns for the current state of the Church and her vision for taking radical risks to change its culture.

Jill Baker, the Vice-President, (from Glasgow) reflected on the need for both laughter and lament in the Church’s life, calling upon her own experiences.

You can read the President’s address in full at:  And the Vice-President’s address at:


At our recent House Group meeting, Natalie Newton told us about 3GENERATE, an action-packed and inspiring weekend for children and young people of the Methodist Church.

In 2016, 3Generate welcomed over 600 children and young people aged 8 to 23 from all over the country; it was so popular that this year’s event will take place at a new larger venue, Pontins, Southport, from 24th to 26th November.

At the event, a Manifesto for 2017 was produced by each of the three age streams.  The combined Manifesto asks the Methodist Church to:-

  • Educate the church to understand young people better so that they can be better resourced and equipped.
  • Support young people to undertake acts of mercy and challenge injustice.
  • Recognise that all young people are called by God and need encouragement and support.
  • Provide opportunities to speak constructively about mental health.
  • Provide more opportunities to talk about issues in church – Poverty, School life, Extremism and the Refugee Crisis


A piece from The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

Eight Pillars of Joy – coping with problems

Perspective     See yourself and your problems from a wider perspective in the context of your life – your problem will pass.

Humility          See yourself as one of the seven billion people in the world, it is part of the unfolding drama of life.  Feel love and appreciation for all those connected to you and your life.

Humour          Smile and try to find the humour in your situation, accepting life as it is.

Acceptance     Accept that you are struggling and have human limitations.  Accept that you cannot change the past and accept the reality of the situation.

Forgiveness     Forgive yourself for your part in the situation, recognize you are only human.   Forgive other who are involved.

Gratitude        Think of three or more people and things that you are grateful for in this problem.  Are there people or things supporting you as you face this challenge?

Compassion    Have compassion for yourself and for how you are struggling.  You are not meant to be perfect – suffering is part of the fabric of life.  Feel the light of loving-kindness shining from you to your loved ones and to anyone you are struggling with.

Generosity      Feel the generosity that is in your heart, radiate this to all around you.  How can you give your gifts and transform your problem into an opportunity to give to others?  When we give joy to others, we experience true joy ourselves.


Dates for your Diary


Tuesday 29th   1.30-4.30         Cream Tea at St Mary’s Guildford


Sunday 3rd        6.30               Circuit Service at Knaphill

Saturday 9th   12.00-4.00        Fete at West Horsley Place

Tuesday 12th   7.00                 Spiritual Cinema at St Martin’s

Sunday 17th   10.30                 Harvest Festival, followed by Lunch

Monday 25th    2.00                Bible Study Group in the Wesley Room

Tuesday 26th   7.00                 House Group meeting at Ruth Isaac’s


Monday 2nd     9.30                Church Stewards’ Meeting

Monday 9th     2.00                 Bible Study Group in the Vestry

Friday 20th    10.00                  Church Council

Monday 23rd   2.00                Bible Study Group in the Wesley Room

Tuesday 24th   7.00                 House Group meeting at Ruth Isaac’s


Monday 6th     2.00                Bible Study Group in the Wesley Room

Saturday 18th   7.00                 Merrow Quiz

Sunday 19th   10.30                 Remembrance Day Parade Service

Monday 20th   2.00                Bible Study Group in the Wesley Room

Tuesday 28th   7.00                 House Group meeting at Ruth Isaac’s


Saturday 9th    7.00                   Carol Praise

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